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Covid-19 Coronavirus


Guidance for Staff and Students


St Mary's University College has established an Incident Management Team (IMT) and is treating the spread of the COVID-19 virus as a matter which requires an emergency response within its Business Continuity Plan.

Good communication will be an essential element of the College's response. Please take the guidance which is set out below very seriously and keep yourself informed by the messages which are being posted.

Here is the latest advice from the Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland).


Frequently Asked Questions by Students (FAQs).




Sunday, 29 March:



Saturday, 28 March:


  • Undergraduate students were informed of the framework for assessment in the third term, ie after April 20.
  • Students were advised that Queen’s University has postponed the Graduation ceremonies scheduled for the period 2-8 July 2020.


Monday, 23 March:

  • St Mary's will close to all staff today and arrangements for working from home are now in place. Contractors will remain on site until further notice.
  • BEd interviews and PGCE interviews will be conducted by telephone.
  • A letter to all students was circulated by the Principal at the weekend outlining high-level arrangements for tuition and support.
  • Academic staff have been advised to make arrangements for on-line tutoring and support at module level.
  • Guidance on the use of digital learning was circulated to the academic staff.
  • Students received a paper on FAQs from Student Support and Guidance.
  • Arrangements for obtaining contingency contacts were approved.
  • It was reported to DfE that there is one confirmed case of Covid-19 at St Mary's.

Friday, 20 March:

  • The policy framework for Working from Home was circulated to all members of staff.
  • Remote access was approved for key services to named individuals.
  • The College campus will be closed to students and visitors (with the exception of contractors and key maintenance providers) from Monday 23 March.

Tuesday, 17 March:


  • A decision was made to suspend School Experience and Work-Related Learning. This was communicated to all members of staff and all students.


Monday, 16 March:

  • Staff and students were issued guidance on how the College planned to manage placement learning in the prevailing circumstances.
  • Guidance was issued to members of staff on a series of HR matters including: staff showing symptoms of Covid-19, underlying medical conditions, school closures as well as caring for dependents and homeworking.


Friday, 13 March:

  • A decision was taken to suspend all classroom teaching with effect from Monday, 16 March at 4:00 pm.
  • All external events were cancelled, effective from Monday, 16 March.

On Thursday, 12 March staff and students were informed of the first seven measures taken by the Incident Management Team (IMT). These included:

  • Recall Days in relation to School Experience were postponed
  • All plans for international travel were cancelled
  • International students were advised to return home.


Advice on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) published on behalf of the Irish Episcopical Conference.

Most recent advice from the Department of Education on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

As St Mary's is a College of Queen's University, all staff and students should take account of this advice and guidance.

Statement from the Health Minister

Information from Northern Ireland's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride.

The situation with regard to the Novel Coronavirus (2019 nCov) outbreak is both serious and evolving. The UK government has declared it to be a serious and imminent threat to public health.

In response to the ongoing Novel Coronavirus (2019 nCov) outbreak, St Mary's University College has produced the following guidance for our staff and students.

1. This is an evolving situation and staff and students are asked to continue to visit this page on the College website and regularly check the following:

Public Health Agency website,
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website and
GOV.UK website for the latest updates and guidance.

A helpline has been established for anyone in Northern Ireland who has travelled to the following countries and regions, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, in the past 14 days.
The helpline number is 0300 200 7885.

Please note: You do not need to be registered with a GP in Northern Ireland to contact the helpline.

2. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice in relation to Novel Coronavirus (2019 nCov).

3. GuildHE
GuildHE has issued information and guidance.

4. Looking after your own health:
Advice to all staff and students who may be concerned about catching a flu virus.
To help protect yourself from catching any flu like virus during these winter months, the Public Health Agency is advising that you should:

  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water or a disinfectant, especially after coughing and sneezing, before handling and consuming food.
  • Use disposable tissues when coughing or sneezing and dispose of used tissues carefully and promptly in a bin.
  • Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and avoid sharing personal items.

Further advice and guidance
We will continue to keep this webpage updated. If there are any major changes or updates, we will communicate these to you directly.

Guidance, advice and updates are available from:

[This page was last updated on Monday, 30 March 2020.]